Which of his 'babies' does double winner JWA love more? Where does Virgil Abloh go to party? and why couldn't Adwoa Aboah speak? Find out all this and more in our insiders' report on fashion's biggest night of the year...
Last night’s annual Fashion Awards, housed in the iconic Royal Albert Hall, honoured the glitterati of the fashion industry in an emotionally charged ceremony that combined major international glamour with poignancy – and unusual star turns galore. During the Fashion Awards 2017, there was a tribute to the late, great Azzedine Alaia (who died recently) from his tearful protegee Naomi Campbell, and a rendition of George Michael’s Freedom by Rita Ora, backed by a gay mens’ chorus – of course. There were major A-listers in attendance, from red carpet attendees like Selena Gomez to industry heavyweights including Anna Wintour.
What used to be a mainly Brit-focused affair is fast turning into a global event to rival the Met Ball for international clout – last night’s ceremony saw Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri make the trip over from Paris HQ to receive the first ever award for Positive Change, in recognition of her feminist-focused designs. Her predecessor at Dior, Raf Simons – now making headlines over at Calvin Klein – was also at the Albert Hall to receive the night’s biggest nod, Designer of the Year.
Marie Claire’s Jess Wood was backstage to chat to some of the winners – and to see major moments like John Galliano dancing down a corridor hand in hand with Donatella Versace (honoured with a special Fashion Icon award), while make-up queen Pat McGrath giggled from the sidelines.
Here’s what some of our favourites had to say…
Winner – Model of the Year
Shimmying backstage in her turban, Christian Louboutin plaforms and head-to-toe sequins by hot young London designer Michael Halpern (another of the night’s winners), girls’ mental health advocate and Gurls Talk founder Adwoa was speechless for a full minute when asked what winning meant to her.
‘It means so so much. London is home and I’ve watched a lot of my close friends pick up this award – I’ve also really looked up to their careers so to be following after them means a lot. To be sitting next to my mum and dad, and next to everyone from Professor Green to Stormzy to Maria Grazia, who have all been massive supports to me…I’m really really grateful.’ She’s got more than the award to be excited about, too – she’s just been announced as a newly-minted BFC (British Fashion Council) ambassador. She’ll no doubt be rolling up her sleeves and tackling taboo issues like models’ rights with typical guts.
Winner, British Emerging Talent – Womenswear (for Halpern)
You might not be that familiar with his name – yet – but that’s about to change, big time. Young London-based designer Halpern is fast becoming known as the new ‘king of cool glamour’ with his Studio 54-inspired sequins and glitz. But as he told us, sequins need to be taken seriously…
‘I’m a magpie in every regard. But what’s important is not just to focus on the disco era but the attitude that those people had – it was rebellion and trying to stand up for something. Using this idea of glitter and sequins as rebellion, that’s where I’m coming from.’ he told us with one arm round Pamela Anderson, his idol (and everyone else’s, as it turns out – who knew?), who was dressed in black floor-length Halpern sequins to present him with his award. So, um, what is it about Pammie, Michael?
‘Pamela was my OMG moment this evening! When I heard she was presenting the category tonight, I just wanted to meet her, I didn’t care if I won or not. She’s super authentic, she’s not trying to be anyone else. Nowadays, so many people are involved with their personas on Instagram and how they present themselves, and she’s just very honest in that way.’ Fashion fans, now you know…
Winner, Urban Luxe award for Off/White
The coolest – and nicest – man in fashion, wearing trainers with his tux (obvs), stopped for a good old chinwag about his many talents and plans. He’s an architect by training, a longtime collaborator of Kanye West’s, and has pretty much been responsible for turning streetwear into a luxury fashion category with his label Off/White. But did you know he likes to spin a tune too? Read on…
‘With me, youthfulness is at the heart of it all – whenever I’m putting together my own look, it’s about ‘what’s red carpet for a 17 year old kid?’ and I guarantee he’s more comfortable in Nikes than dress shoes,’ Abloh told us about his Fashion Awards look. As for his award?
‘I love winning awards but I can’t place too much value on it. It’s super cool that they’re acknowledging this category now. British fashion has been integral to my career – Kim Jones has been my mentor for over 10 years. Louise Wilson [late legendary St Martin’s tutor] was my supporter and advisor, without going to St Martin’s – but she was someone who believed in today. Half my family is in London, and I’ve always felt an affinity for it as a melting pot. From Carnival, to grime, to skateboarding, club music…Music and streetwear has been here forever – music, rhyme, club dance have all influenced why sneakers are in trend. I come from that kind of back door of culture – I just gave myself the task of making it ‘high fashion”.
So, Virgil, what will you be doing to celebrate?
‘I’m going to celebrate by DJing at my own Off/White nightclub at Somerset House – at 180 Strand. I’m an architect by training. I’ve built this as a one off, one-night-only project. I’m playing at midnight – it goes on till 3am, playing house and techno. This is fun, but my whole sphere is like 4am on the dancefloor, DJing…’ Our names are on the door, yeah, Virgil?
Yikes, the JDubz has done a double! Fashion’s most talented young whippersnapper scooped a major prize for each of his labels, a rarity in fashion awards history. So, which is he most excited about?
‘I can’t pick sides – it’s like having two babies. I love both brands!’ He confessed to us. ‘Actually, it’s kind of difficult to accept this – I feel like we’re in a very challenging moment in general and it’s difficult to feel you can accept something like this when things are very complicated. But I love my work. Sometimes I feel guilty and a bit like ‘am I going to be hated (or double hated) for my success? But who cares?’ Did he have a sneaking suspicion he might win? ‘Last year I came and I lost 4 awards! So I come with no expectations! As long as I’m drinking and having a good time then I’m fine.’ Cheers, JWA…
Scroll down for the full list of winners and some of the night’s best red-carpet looks…
Selena Gomez in Coach, below
Kaia Gerber in Ralph & Russo, below
Adwoa Aboah in Michael Halpern, below
FKA Twigs in Versace, below
Host Karlie Kloss in Vivienne Westwood Couture, below
Here’s who won at the Fashion Awards 2017
Model of the Year: Adwoa Aboah
Outstanding Contribution to British Fashion Award: Christopher Bailey MBE
British Designer of the Year- Menswear: Craig Green for Craig Green
British Designer of the Year- Womenswear: Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson
Accessories Designer of the Year: Jonathan Anderson for Loewe
Swarovski Award For Positive Change: Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior
Urban Luxe Brand: Off-White
Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator: Pat McGrath MBE
British Emerging Talent – Womenswear: Michael Halpern for Hapern
British Emerging Talent – Menswear: Charles Jeffrey for Charles Jeffery LOVERBOY
Business Leader: Marco Bizzarri for Gucci
Special Recognition Award For Innovation: Stella McCartney OBE
Style Icon: Donatella Versace for Versace
Designer of the Year: Raf Simons for Calvin Klein